If you suffer from TMJ disorder, the pain and discomfort can be overwhelming. If your bite is misaligned, you may also be doing irreversible damage to your teeth and jaw.
You need a solution. But many TMJ treatments available today merely mask symptoms without addressing the underlying causes of your pain.
If you've tried everything but the pain persists, neuromuscular dentistry is your best option for a long-term solution with proven results.
What is neuromuscular dentistry? We get this question all the time, so we've put together this post on what it is, what makes it different, and how to tell if it's the right option for you.
What is neuromuscular dentistry?
Neuromuscular dentistry is a non-invasive technique that focuses on correcting the origin of your TMJ problems, instead of merely treating the symptoms to relieve pain.
Neuromuscular dentists understand that a bad bite and poor posture can cause persistent pain and dysfunction. So they work to find the optimal bite for your teeth, bones, muscles, and tendons. The end result? A corrected bite that reduces or eliminates TMJ pain and tooth damage.
How does neuromuscular dentistry work?
First, your dentist will gather data about your bite pattern. They will observe your TMJ signs and symptoms, and take radiographs of your teeth and jaw.
Your dentist will use this information to develop a specialized treatment plan to realign your bite and shift your teeth to their optimal location. By evaluating how your jaw, teeth, muscles, and tendons fit together, a neuromuscular dentist can find the jaw position that is best for your whole mouth.
Why do neuromuscular dentists work together with other specialists?
Your body is made up of interconnected parts and body systems. Neuromuscular dentists recognize this and may work with a number of other specialists to find the jaw position that is best for your whole body.
These specialists may include:
- Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Specialist - Ear pain is a common symptom of TMJ because the temporomandibular joint is located so close to the so close to the middle ear and ear canal. If you suffer from sinus trouble that does not seem related to the TMJ, your dentist may also refer you to an ENT specialist.
- Physical Therapist - If you suffer from TMJ Disorder, you may also have built-up tension in your face, neck, and shoulders that exacerbates your symptoms. Physical therapy can improve your jaw function and posture, decreasing tension in these areas.
- Chiropractor - If your TMJ pain is related to spinal issues, a chiropractor may help you alleviate related pain and discomfort.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapist - If you suffer from anxiety, this may be helpful for you because anxiety is known to contribute to TMJ and bruxism (teeth grinding). TMJ can also contribute to anxiety and depression if left untreated.
I'm looking for a TMJ specialist. What qualifications should I look for?
Here are 3 signs of a good TMJ specialist.
- Commitment to Continuing Education: Dentists are learning new things about TMJ every day. So, it’s important to find a TMJ specialist with a commitment to continuing education. Look for a dentist who has received specialized TMJ training at an organization like the prestigious Las Vegas Institute (LVI).
- Neuromuscular Approach: “When traditional approaches to treating TMJ Disorders are not able to resolve your symptoms, you may need the help of a neuromuscular dentist,” says Dr. Chad Boger, DDS. “Neuromuscular dentistry uses reliable methods to find a balanced physiologic bite. This supports the harmony of your muscles, joints, and teeth, reduces tooth damage, and enables you to open and close comfortably.”
- Use of Modern Technology: You need a dentist that makes use of recent advances in technology to get an even more precise, accurate picture of your jaw function. Ask your dentist if they use technology like CT scans and K7 systems to evaluate your jaw and find its optimal position.
Is neuromuscular dentistry right for me?
Neuromuscular dentistry offers a long-term solution to eliminate headaches, jaw pain, and other issues associated with TMJ. If you suffer from TMJ, neuromuscular dentistry may be the solution you need to fix your bite and start living again.